A specter is haunting the entire world, the specter of obesity. Obesity has become the norm, and a major health hazard threatening a sizeable section of the population in almost all countries and rapidly becoming endemic in the US. Nearly 35.7% of the adult population in the US or more than 1 out of every 20 adults is overly obese.
Now, being a little overweight or a tad obese doesn’t inevitably tantamount to being unhealthful. It’s only when the fat lining your belly (also known as abdominal or visceral fat) pushes the circumference of your waist beyond 40 inches that you should start worrying. Excessive abdominal or stomach fat hikes secretion of cytokines and stress hormones making you a prime candidate for a host of serious diseases and disorders, including heart disease and diabetes mellitus type 2. So, what is the sure way to lose belly fat? Read on.
5 Reasons Why You Get Belly Fat
- Inactivity or remaining sedentary for extended hours – Modern-day lifestyles gets in the way of keeping oneself fit and trim. These days, more men, women, and children remain sedentary than ever. People spend more time in front of TV screens or surfing the net on their PDAs. Additionally, the proliferation of computer and/or desk-based jobs compels individuals to stay in a standing or sitting position for longer hours. Fat tends to get deposited around your belly first when you remain motionless or don’t work out regularly.
- Not getting enough sleep – In order to stay slim and healthy, adults need to sleep soundly every night for about 8 hours. Sleeping less than 6 hours contributed heavily towards gaining undue weight and turning obese. So, how to get rid of belly fat? Sleeping deeply for 7-8 hours is surely one of the most effective ways.
- Genetic predisposition – Some obese people are genetically predisposed to store excessive calories in the form of belly fat and have a higher waist-to-hip proportion.
- Excessive stress – Stress has now become prevalent in almost everybody’s life. Though some degree of stress is necessary or desirable for pulling through from one day to the next, an extremely high level of stress and constant stress leads to abnormal secretion of ‘cortisol’-the stress hormone making you overeat.
- Dietary Imbalance – Our food environment is full of conveniently processed foods that make feeding ourselves easy but these alternatives are not healthy. Consuming processed foods rich in trans-fats, fructose, sodium chloride, and calories tend to make you overweight faster than you realize.
Side Effects or Issues Due to Belly Fat
Heart Disease – Obesity puts you at high risk for chronic disease and other life-threatening diseases including heart disease. Both visceral (belly fat) and subcutaneous fats make your body release a greater amount of inflammatory molecules (cytokines) which requires the heart to work harder in order to filter and circulate blood. This extra stress on the heart can contribute heart failure/attack.
Diabetes type 2 – Obesity, particularly in the form of unwanted belly fat is one of the most palpable predictors or risk factor for type 2 diabetes, a condition that results when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Bodies of highly obese individuals have a more difficult time regulating blood sugar and hence secrete more insulin than normal.
Hypertension – People with too much fat around their waist are more likely to have fat in other regions of their bodies including the heart. Fat deposited inside the arteries of the heart requires the heart to work harder increasing the pressure with which the organ pumps blood to other parts of the body leading to high blood pressure or hypertension.
Osteoarthritis – Excessive amount of fat in the body including the buildup in the belly puts more pressure on the joints. The enhanced force on the knees, hip, ankles, neck, and other joints makes it more difficult for the overweight individual to stand up, sit down or move from one place to another making these individuals more sedentary. The lack increased pressure on the joints and the decreased mobility increases the risk for osteoarthritis.
Fatty liver disease of the non-alcoholic type – Abnormally obese persons are also at a great danger of suffering from NAFD or non-alcoholic fatty disease.
How to Rid Your Body of Belly Fat? – The 11 Easiest and Sure Ways Of Losing Belly Fat – it’s not just about food and exercise.
The more of the tips below you are able to incorporate into your daily life the quicker you’ll see a reduction in belly fat. I suggest you choose 1 or 2 per week and repeat them as often as possible so these new habits replace the old habits that got you where you are right now. You can get your slim, sexy body back, regardless of how many weight loss programs you might have tried before.
1. Be on the move as much as you can – Most health specialists and fitness experts would agree that the fastest
way to lose belly fat is to keep yourself physically active. Now that doesn’t mean you’ll have to overstrain yourself to scald the fact around your waist. On the other hand, focusing too much on abdominal workouts may not essentially melt away the flab.
In order to torch the excess blubber, you’ll have to combine diverse forms of workouts including cardiovascular, strength-building, aerobic, and yogic exercises to name a few. Apart from working out routinely, you’ll have to stick to a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well as get 7-8 hours of sound sleep every night.
I know this sounds time-consuming and if you don’t like exercise well then it sounds downright impossible. But it is not. Start a little at a time. If you don’t exercise at all a group class or investing in a personal trainer can be a worthwhile investment.
2. Healthy fat does not make you fat – In order to prevent over eating you must include healthy fats in your food mix. Healthy fats help you feel satisfied after a meal. I recommend coconut oil and avocado oil for cooking. Olive oil for drizzling over food, for dressings or anything cold and nuts and seeds for a healthy snack.
Coconut oil is a special kind of fat in that it’s a medium chain triglyceride and the body processes this fat in a very different way. It takes more energy for you body to use and burn this fat making it ideal for weight
Avocado oil is the new kid on the block. It is ideal for cooking as it has a high smoke point. You do not want oils to smoke, as this is when they change their molecular structure and become carcinogens. Also, avocado oil has a very mild taste that is ideal if you don’t like the taste of coconut.
Olive oil has high anti-inflammatory properties but is not ideal for cooking for it has a low smoke point.
Nuts and seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition but beware for they also pack a lot of calories. I particularly recommend walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, as they are high in Omega 3 oils. It is important to increase our intake of Omega 3 fats not because Omega 6 fats are bad for us but because we consume a disproportionate amount of these fats. Omega 3 is not easily found in our food supply while Omega 6 is prevalent.
A handful of nuts and seeds with fruit is an ideal snack – packed with nutrients and healthy fats to keep you satisfied until the next meal.
3. Include protein in your food mix – Protein keeps your metabolic system in perfect order which in turn promotes holistic digestion. Consumption of protein-rich food items prevents blood sugar levels from spiking up, a phenomenon or trend that becomes more marked as you grow older. Protein also provides the body with the extra energy it needs for breaking down fat molecules. So, the next time you go to the supermarket, remember to include healthy protein sources like wild fish (salmon, tuna or trout), clean, lean animal proteins (chicken, turkey, lean beef or veal) and vegetarian protein sources (eggs, kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, quinoa, soy, nuts and seeds).
4. Include more fibrous foods in your diet – Consumption of foods that contain more roughage or fibers goes a long way in helping you cut down on belly lard. Roughage is the fibrous material found in a variety of legumes, vegetables, leafy vegetables, fruits, and cereals, and is mostly indigestible. However, you should keep an eye out for those types of natural food items that are laden with the soluble viscous fibers.
Foods containing viscous fibers gel with water and other liquids inside the gut or belly and act as a barrier to certain types of bacteria in the gut that encourages fat accumulation. This fibrous barrier also decelerates food movement through the esophagus to the stomach and up to the small intestines where the digestive action is most intense. As a result, the digestion process that starts right after you take food slows down and allows for a better assimilation of nutrients.
5. Cut down on carbohydrates – Restricting your intake of carbohydrates is again one of the most effective ways to lose belly fat. Numerous studies and trials have been conducted that have overwhelmingly proved that sticking to a low-carb diet dulls the appetite and keeps your cravings under control.
Adhering to a diet consisting of foods with a minimal amount of carbohydrates discourages your body from retaining excessive water or other fluids. Consuming foods rich in protein makes the body use protein and the fat deposited around the visceral organs like the liver, kidneys and the stomach for energy. In contrast, when you eat a high carb diet the body is supplied with an unlimited amount of glucose for energy and it never taps into the fat reserves for preforming its daily functions making it very difficult to lose weight.
Refined and processed foods are high in carbohydrates these include bread, cereals, pasta and of course cookies, cakes, brownies, crackers, and chips. Aim to reduce the consumption of these foods as much as possible and replace them with wholesome carbohydrates such as whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, oatmeal and low sugar granola), whole fruits and vegetables that are loaded with nutrients and fiber.
6. Shun high-sugar carbonated drinks – Sodas of all kinds are a bane in the modern world as these types of drinks causes more harm than good. Our liver is responsible for breaking down the fructose found in sugar and other toxins. And I say other toxins because the fructose in sugar is a toxin.
Let’s look at what makes sugar so you can understand why sodas are particularly harmful. Sugar is composed of glucose and fructose. All the organs in our body can use glucose. In fact, glucose is the energy of life but sodas are mostly composed of fructose that can only be metabolized by the liver and quickly turns into fat. So, if you tend to drink too many glasses of colas or other carbonated/fizzy beverages, the excess amount of fructose gets converted into fats that like to be deposited in the abdomen. Skewed metabolism of sugar is not only responsible for causing belly flab but insulin resistance as well.
The solution lies in drastically curbing consumption of high-sugar carbonated drinks and beverages as well as limiting intake of refined juices and sports drinks, UNLESS you have just run a marathon. In that case, your body can use the fructose but when was the last time you drank soda just because you ran a marathon?
7. Hit the sack – The more sleep you lose every day or night for that matter, the greater propensity to stock more fat in the abdomen. The circadian rhythm, the internal clock of the body, goes amok if sleeping patterns are irregular. Not going to bed and waking up at the same hour every day alerts your body to release cortisol, a hormone that stimulates fat buildup.
Burning the midnight oil and keeping awake till late night invite you to gorge as your biorhythmic system is turned off. The more you delay in going to sleep, the more exhausted you feel forcing the body to produce and secrete more ghrelin-a hormone that triggers your sugary food cravings.
Aim for getting 7-8 hours of sleep on a daily basis.
8. Go green – Downing more cups of green tea work effectually towards melting belly fat. Green tea is steeped with catechins-antioxidants-that works in speeding up the metabolic process of fat-cutting. Have at least 3-4 cups of green tea every day this will help you stay hydrated and speed up fat loss.
9. Slow down – We hustle to get things done all day, every day. Rarely do we find the time to sit back and relax. We become so attuned to working beyond the regular hours that even when we have spare time, we don’t feel like taking a break. Slow down to enjoy your food and help your digestion. Slowing down will also help you be more present, more aware. Change only happens when you are present.
10. Keep track of what you’re consuming and how much – Keeping track of what you eat on a daily basis is one of the most powerful weight loss tools. And contrary to popular believe, maintaining a food chart is not all that challenging. You need to make this a habit and like all habits, the more often you do it, the more likely it’ll become a habit. Remember to increase your intake of healthy fats and protein, reduce carbohydrate intake in the form of highly refined and processed foods and increase your intake of vegetables, particularly leafy greens as these are low in calories and high in nutrients.
11. Reduce alcoholic consumption and give up smoking – Alcoholic drinks tend to suppress the metabolic system and promote fat storage. Smoking causes the death of healthy cells and interferes with the digestive process. If you’re serious about losing the pounds, cut down on alcohol consumption and give up smoking. People who gain weight when they quit smoking do so because they replace the habit of smoking with eating. Pay attention to your behaviors and perhaps go for a short walk when you feel like lighting up instead putting food in your mouth.
It is easier to put on weight than to burn fat, particular belly fat, but that should not stop you, not at all. The tips I’ve included here will help you shift to a healthier way of eating and instill habits that will promote fat loss and health. Health is the greatest gift and one we usually take for granted until we get sick. It is imperative that we do all we can to prevent sickness and maintain a slim and well-nurtured body is a great start.